France to beat defending champion’s curse against Australia, Denmark and Tunisia

2022 World CupFrance does not begin the defense of its title in the best conditions: repeated injuries and poor results have somewhat shaken the confidence of the Blues, fourth in the world rankings. But group D, with Denmark (FIFA 10) and Australia (FIFA 38) brings back good memories to the French. Tunisia (FIFA 30) completes the pool.

Australia, which France will face for their entry into the competition on November 22, was already the first opponent of Didier Deschamps’ troops in 2018. And Denmark is even the lucky charm of the French team: every time the Blues won a big tournament, Denmark was in their group. This was the case in 2018 therefore, but also in 1998 as well as at Euro 1984 and Euro 2000. The reasoning can be valid in the other direction: at Euro 1992, Denmark had won its only international tournament after defeating France in the group stage.

Defeat the Curse of the World Champion

The French will look with concern at another statistic: the last four European world champions, namely Germany in 2014, Spain in 2010, Italy in 2006 and… France in 1998 were all eliminated from the start. group stage in the following edition. On paper, the Blues once again have a squad capable of playing for the title, with the spectacular attacking trio formed by the Ballon d’Or Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Kylian Mbappé (Paris Saint-Germain) and Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid) . The new generation, represented in particular by Aurélien Tchouaméni (Real Madrid), also looks solid. Where the shoe pinches is at the level of the injured: Paul Pogba (Juventus), N’Golo Kanté (Chelsea), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain) and Christopher Nkunku are forfeited, while Benzema and Raphaël Varane (Manchester United) have also suffered physical glitches in recent weeks but have been picked up by Didier Deschamps.

Danish confidence, Australian and Tunisian hopes

For its part, Denmark will approach this group with confidence: the ‘Rod-Hvide’ remain on a semi-final at the Euro and have beaten France twice during the League of Nations. With the experienced Christian Eriksen (Manchester United), Simon Kjaer (AC Milan) and Kasper Schmeichel (Nice), Kasper Hjulmand’s attractive team can hope to repeat the performance of 1998, when the ‘Danish Dynamite’ reached the quarter-finals.

Australia and Tunisia complete this group. The ‘Socceroos’ are playing the World Cup for the seventh time, with a qualification in the round of 16 in 2006 as their best result. The ‘Eagles of Carthage’ have never made it past the first round in six appearances.

Former goalkeeper of Bruges and captain of the Australian selection, Matthew Ryan will participate in Qatar at his third World Cup. © REUTERS

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